Grigorii Roshal

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Roshal’, Grigorii L’vovich


Born Oct. 8 (20), 1899, in Novozybkov, now in Briansk Oblast. Soviet teacher and film director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1967).

Beginning in 1919, Roshal’ organized and directed stage productions for children in Kislovodsk and other cities. In 1921 he moved to Moscow, where he studied at the State Higher Directors’ Workshop and then was appointed director and artistic advisor of the Pedagogical Theater’s workshop. Roshal’ turned to films in 1925. His first film was The Skotinins (1927, adapted from Fonvizin’s comedy The Minor).

The civic viewpoint characteristic of Roshal’s work was reflected in the antifascist films The Salamander (1928), The Op-penheim Family (1939; adapted from L. Feuchtwanger’s novel), and The Madmen’s Trial (1962). His inclination toward sweeping epic productions and heroic subject matter found expression in Dawn in Paris (1937) and the trilogy comprising The Sisters (1957; adapted from A. N. Tolstoy’s novel Road to Calvary), The Year 1918 (1958), and Gloomy Morning (1959). Screen adaptations occupy an important place in his work. They include St. Petersburg Night (1934; adapted from Dostoevsky’s White Nights and Netochka Nezvanova) and In Search of Happiness (1940; adapted from F. I. Panferov’s play Bruski), both in collaboration with V. P. Stroeva, as well as The Artamo-nov Business (1941; adapted from Gorky’s novel) and The Freemen (1956; adapted from F. V. Gladkov’s novel).

Roshal’ also directed a series of historical and biographical films, including The Songs of Abai (1946; with E. E. Aron), Academician Ivan Pavlov (1949), Mussorgsky (1950), Rimsky-Korsakov (1953), and A Year Like a Lifetime (1966), devoted to the life and work of K. Marx. Roshal’ wrote a number of his own screenplays, as well as articles on cinematography. He also taught at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography. A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR in 1950 and 1951, he has been awarded four orders and several medals.


Kinolenta zhizni. Moscow, 1974.


Rozen, S. Grigorii Roshal’. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
While 100 Men and a Girl introduced to Soviet filmgoers Deanna Durbin, who was to become their favorite Western star for many years to come, The Great Waltz became a major stimulus for a cycle of screen biographies of Russian composers, opened in 1947 by Leo Arnshtam's Glinka and ended in 1953 by Grigorii Roshal' and Gennadii Kazanskii's Rimskii-Korsakov.
Although the slow rhythm and static compositions of Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky (1938) can be regarded as prototypical stylistic features that anticipated the style of postwar biopics even before his own Ivan, Grigorii Roshal"s Academician Ivan Pavlov (1949) and Grigorii Aleksandrov's Composer Glinka (a second version of the composer's biography [1952]) are closer, in what I would call "the stylistic spirit," to the "serious" biographical films of Dieterle or to kitschy Hollywood paeans to artistic creativity.